As a recruiter, your goal is to locate and develop professional relationships with talent. Any experienced recruiter knows that qualified individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds, but, in practice, some people run into prejudices and discriminatory practices that deny them a chance to realize their career aspirations.

It’s important to do what you can to ensure that your candidate search is as fair and free of bias as possible—this is not only the right thing to do but a matter of law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can and will impose serious penalties on organizations, including recruitment firms, that engage in discriminatory hiring practices. Let’s explore a few simple tips to encourage discrimination-free recruiting.

Candidate Sourcing Tactics

Avoid Asking Inappropriate Questions – When contacting candidates through email or other means, it is important to avoid touching on sensitive topics that might create the impression of hiring bias. Under federal law, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, disability, or national origin. It is also illegal to ask candidates about their medical history, or whether they intend to become pregnant. Anything that might be construed as an attempt to ferret out this information from candidates could land you in hot water.

Be Consistent in Communications with Candidate Pool – If you tend to solicit certain kinds of information from candidates during your communications with them, you need to ensure that your approach is consistent from one applicant to the next. Among other things, this helps you avoid the appearance of selectively modifying your recruitment tactics in a discriminatory fashion. Your applicant tracking software can help you create templates so your emails and related communications always contain the same information.

Do Not Conduct Searches Based on Race or Color – A major no-no is searching for candidates in a way as to target or exclude particular racial groups. However, what should a recruiter do if their client insists on this? The only legitimate response is to refuse the request. If the EEOC were to launch an investigation into the client’s hiring policies, the recruiter can be held liable for participating in discriminatory employment practices.

Prevent Discrimination